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EPDM (ethylene-propylene rubber) has been used for more than 25 years as the main elastomer in radiator hoses because it offers a well-balanced price/performance ratio in this field of application. Some years ago the automotive and rubber industry became aware of a problem called electrochemical degradation and cracking. Cooling systems broke down due to a typical cracking failure of some radiator hoses. Different test methods were developed to simulate and solve the problem on laboratory scale. The influence of different variables with respect to the electrochemical degradation process has been investigated, but until recently the influence of the engine coolant was ignored. Using a test method developed by DSM elastomers, the influence of the composition of the engine coolant as well as of the EPDM composition has now been evaluated. This paper gives an overview of test results with different coolant technologies and offers a plausible explanation of the degradation mechanisms as a function of the elastomer composition.
elastomers, electrochemical degradation, EPDM, inhibitors, nitrite, carboxylates, organic acids, hoses, seals, propylene glycol
Application technology manager, Application Center of Expertise, DSM Elastomers Europe, Geleen,
Associate chemist coolants technology, Texaco Technology Ghent, Ghent,
Manager coolants technology, Texaco Technology Ghent, Ghent,